Grasping the Nettle: Joined-Up Education in Northern Ireland

joined up thinking
grasp the nettle
You’ve been beating round the bush
long enough now with all this talk of education
Not really. We discussed shared features in schooling North and South of the border.
shared vision
We’ve seen the Catholic maintained schools are doing well, particularly for less well-off pupils. Catholic boys and girls see Higher Education as a much more important goal
than Protestant students. If Catholic maintained education’s not broken why fix it with integrated education? But there’s nothing to stop us adding to it
We’ve understood why Northern Ireland Loyalists are failing Protestant pupils
Now we just have to assemble the pieces
into a win-win situation
What are you talking about?
Catholic maintained schools would probably be happy to offer their pupils an alternative to GCSEs and A levels. The obvious alternatives are the Junior and Leaving Certificates
school certificate
Protestants need an opportunity to improve their children’s performance in education
So why not

something new
Set up a pilot scheme to make the Junior and Leaving Certs available in NI schools
are you serious
It would suit us as members of the European Union
It would be a bridge amongst young people across the North

lego bridge
and between the younger generation North and South
lego bridges2
We’ll not be learning Irish
You won’t have to.
All pupils whose primary education up to 11 years of age was received in Northern Ireland may be allowed exemption from the study of Irish
A lot of pupils in Northern Ireland might be happier with the new Junior Cert format that Minister Ruairi Quinn’s introducing in 2014

happy pupils
Continuous assessment and no stressful exam at the end – just an essay that is corrected by the teachers that know the pupils well. The transition year might also provide benefits for northern students
What’s that?
An optional break between Junior certificate and starting to study for Leaving certificate.
The content is left to the school to model on the local needs. Activities might include work experience placements, project work, international trips or exchanges and excursions.
transition programme
Students may participate in courses such as creative writing, sailing, film-making, public speaking , or enter competitions in science, fashion, and so on which would normally be too time-consuming for a full-time student.
transition year
Sounds like an expensive waste of time. The students will get distracted and not want to return to full-time study
Or it will give them time to grow up a little, help them make up their minds about what they want to do in their working lives. Then they can opt for the type of leaving certificate they want to do – general education, vocational or applied as well as ordinary or higher level
Our politicians will never agree
paisley 4
Why wouldn’t they? It will give the North-South Council something to build up
building blocks
it fits in with Sinn Fein’s education policy,
sinn fein
there’s nothing for Alliance or the SDLP to object to

yes of course
and it even answers the DUP’s call for integrated education
though not quite as they envisaged it!!
Come on Ministers O’Dowd and Quinn. Put on your
Roll out the new Junior Certificate north and south in 2014!
grasp the nettle

Click to access NPDZ03.pdf

One thought on “Grasping the Nettle: Joined-Up Education in Northern Ireland

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